Well, Matt Fraction is certainly doing things a bit differently than Jonathan Hickman did in his major run with Fantastic Four and his creation of a separate FF title to focus on the rest of the Future Foundation, but it ain't bad, and it's certainly quite a bit of fun. The joie de vivre was certainly evident in his Fantastic Four #1, and with the help of Madman artist Michael Allred, FF #1 is even more bright and sunny – even when it's dealing with tough issues.
This first issue is a great introduction to the Future Foundation, giving us small interview-style moments to familiarize ourselves with Franklin and Valeria Richards, Bentley and Dragon Man, the mental might of the Moloids Mik, Tong, Korr and Turg, new Wakandan student Onome and the Uhari fish folk WV and Vil and Alex Power and his pals Artie & Leech. They're woven into the tale started in Fantastic Four #1, where Reed Richards has realized that he's sick, and is taking his family on a year-long cruise of other dimensions looking for a cure, planning to return four minutes from when they leave. Space-time and all that. Therefore, each member of the Four is charged with finding a stand-in to keep the world guarded during those four minutes just in case. As The Thing puts it, "Because when does anything go the way we plan it?"
Ben Grimm calls up his one-time replacement on the team, Jen Walters, aka She-Hulk. Invisible Woman recruits Medusa from the Inhumans, and the main story is Reed trying to get Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, to step into the fold, hoping the experience of helping tend to the kids will mean Scott might start getting over the loss of his daughter, back in Avengers: The Children's Crusade. Scott resists the idea at first, but when Reed confides in him about the whole 'sick' thing, the guilt trip works, and he sucks it up.
Then there's Johnny Storm, who entirely forgets to find a replacement. Which is why, apparently, it's going to be his current pink-haired girlfriend Darla Deering. She doesn't know this yet, but apparently, she'll be dressing up in a robot Thing suit and calling herself Ms. Thing. It's cute, but almost too cute, so we'll have to see how that plays out. Judging by what's come so far, it might just be a lot of fun.
Allred's pop art style makes for a lovely color palate, thank to Laura Allred's color work. Very clean, perhaps too clean for some, but the cartoony look just works well for wacky science-fiction adventure clubs like this. It works for the Fantastic Future Folks, because they're a different kind of superhero than the norm. I'm not sure I like how he renders She-Hulk, ut other than that, the retro style is fun – and when he draws the Thing, you know he's doing it King Kirby style, which fits with how Fraction is writing him, too. "Jeezum crow," he says. "We're gonna be gone — and sister, I mean gone-gone!" That's a blast – although it's a fine line between making Aunt Petunia's Favorite Nephew whimsical and making him a joke. We'll see if he settles down with that or not.
The Fraction FF era is so far off to a really cool start. It's a great time to hop on board what is surely a great space-time coaster.